Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

A Kipling bargain

I can’t believe my luck. Some years ago, the Cambridge University Press published Thomas Pinney’s three-volume edition of Kipling’s collected poems. I blogged about the publication at the time, but the price of the set was £225 -beyond the budget of an ageing pensioner such as myself. A few weeks ago, loitering on Bookfinder.com, as […]

Charlotte Mew

This is just a note to say how much I am enjoying the new edition of Charlotte Mew’s Selected Poetry and Prose, edited by Julia Copus, and recently published by Faber. The Mew poems that speak most to me are her dramatic monologues, often with a touch of dialect, and the poems about people whose […]

Carlyle’s Statue

The news last week, suddenly, was all about the toppling of statues. When it comes to the bronze representation of a slave-owner like Colston in Bristol, my only feeling is a mild surprise that it hasn’t been quietly got rid of long ago (which would have avoided its noisy elimination this week). But when I […]

On the Use of Books

People like me sometimes express disquiet about the future of the book. The digital is taking over. Young people prefer their phones to a paperback. And so on. This week, though, I learned something that suggests the book still has at the very least a certain cultural cachet. I paid a visit to the workshop […]

War Illustrated

Peter Jackson’s film They Shall Not Grow Old is technically astonishing, but some things about it worry me. One of these is its use of pictures from the magazine War Illustrated, published weekly between September 1914 and February 1919. I bought some 1916 issues on Ebay recently, and they have made interesting reading.

‘the word known to all men’

Tom Deveson’s comment on my Y.Y. post reminds us of Joyce and his linguistic taboo-breaking. Robert Lynd was cautious about this: ‘There are things that even hardened war veterans do not like to see in cold print.’ It’s interesting to see the association of swearing and the war. Even civilians like Lynd had gathered that […]

Y.Y?

On Ebay again, I’ve bought a job lot of David Low caricatures as issued as supplements to the New Statesman in 1926. Most are named, but one is puzzling me: The initials Y.Y. are foxing me – though I have an idea that I ought to know who this is. Can anyone enlighten me?

Tipping a policeman

I’m indulging myself during this tedious lockdown by re-reading Arnold Bennett’s Imperial Palace (1930). At the moment I’m wondering about something that occurs in the episode where dynamic Gracie Savott parks her car outside Smithfield market, and asks a policman to keep an eye on it.On leaving the market, ‘she resumed her dark cloak, tipped […]

Douglas Goldring, Patrick Hamilton

I’ve just realised that I never mentioned on this blog that I recently wrote a review of Douglas Goldring’s The Fortune (1917) for the Sheffield Hallam Popular Fiction blog. Goldring’s book is remarkable for its depiction of James Murdoch, a man who objects to war not on religious or political grounds, but because it seems […]

Max Beerbohm and ‘Tubby’ Clayton

Idle in the lockdown, I did a bit of exploring in Ebay, a site where I’ve not ventured much recently. I bought myself this print, a drawing of Rev. P.B. ‘Tubby’ Clayton by Max Beerbohm, one of a set of lithographs of current notables that Max drew for the Spectator in 1931. I have a […]